|ESPNsoccernet: World Cup 2010|
Under-fire coach Raymond Domenech has diverted the mounting pressure on France onto his players, telling them they are the only ones who can spark their World Cup campaign into life.
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After a goalless draw against Uruguay in Group A, who then went on to beat South Africa 3-0 on Wednesday, Les Bleus face Mexico at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane in Thursday's late match.
Domenech has been roundly criticised for his tactics and selection but he refused to be the scapegoat for a star-studded team's failure to fire, insisting the emphasis was on the players to perform.
"It is important to be philosophical and accept the things you cannot change,'' said Domenech, whose six-year reign as national team coach will end after the tournament. "I always try to prepare the players as best as possible, so they have the best conditions possible but no coach can play for their players. We give them everything to empower them to express themselves on the pitch and it is the same for every match.''
Despite his message to the players that improvement is their responsibility, Domenech is reportedly ready to give Florent Malouda a start in a bid to ignite his team's attacking threat. Thierry Henry is another option after Nicolas Anelka's flat performance against Uruguay, while centre-back William Gallas should be fit to take his place in defence after shaking off a calf problem.
Asked what message he would give his team before sending them out to face Mexico, Domenech said: "Words are just words. They do not help us on the pitch. What matters is the action and that is what we are expecting from our players.''
Captain Patrice Evra has dismissed claims there is disharmony within the squad and that players do not play as a team. France legend Zinedine Zidane criticised les Bleus for a lack of teamwork, suggesting egos were preventing the side working together.
But the Manchester United left back said: "I like to play within a very good team spirit. I am always making sure that the group remains together and in good spirits and we remain friends, play closely together and are frank with one another so we don't take our problems out onto the pitch. We are a strong team, confident in one another and not scared of anyone.''
That is a similar sentiment held by Mexico coach Javier Aguirre, who has challenged his side to win their remaining two matches to guarantee their progress to the knockout stage.
"If we can't win our games, we can't move on to the next round,'' Aguirre said. "We won't be doing any maths. With three draws it is going to be very difficult because I can't remember many teams with three points moving on. We will play like it our last match. I don't know how many goals we can score but we will certainly look at testing France's goalkeeper.''